With a freshly paved test track, a growing parts operation and a newly restarted assembly line that began producing Chevrolet Silverado pickups Nov. 8, General Motors is using more of its sprawling Oshawa Assembly Plant than it has in decades.
“It’s damn near the whole place,” GM Canada President Scott Bell told Automotive News Canada. “We are leveraging and using parts of that facility that we haven’t commissioned since the ’60s.”
It is a dramatic reversal for the more than century-old site — which two years ago, it appeared, had churned out its final vehicle. GM spent a year and about $1.3 billion rapidly retooling the Ontario plant — giving Oshawa the distinction of being the only Canadian auto assembly plant to ever reopen after a complete closure.
The turnaround did come with one string attached.
“When you’re starting a plant and you want to go as fast as we’ve gone, you’ve kind of got to minimize the complexity within the plant and the [product] mix,” Bell said.
For the time being, this makes Oshawa the only plant in GM’s portfolio to exclusively produce Chevrolet — and not GMC-badged — pickups. It will also be the automaker’s only truck plant capable of building both heavy- and light-duty trucks. Its line is already assembling Silverado HDs and will add the light-duty Silverado in the spring.